How quickly things change

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
I watched something on BBC1 this lunchtime. (No it's okay, it was all archive footage.) Miriam Margoyles looking at local Britain. Started with the Yorkshire Dales.

One of the few good things the beeb used to do was to investigate and record old dialects. This is apparently a good guide to the old regional accents .. BBC Voices - Accents and dialects | British Library - Sounds
It supported this statement above.

It was almost tearful watching what we've lost. The oldest clip I noticed was from 1939, but there was plenty into the late 80s.

Yorkshire Dales accents (hundreds). Railways with character. An ancient shepherdess living on a hillside without electricity and getting water from the stream or in winter, down to the reservoir and chipping off the ice. Working until the work was done, however long (I didn't say it was all good, but she was generally happy).

With the advent of multi-channel TV, most channels American rubbish, a state of entitlement, etc, it rammed it home to me just how much (almost all for the worst) Britain changed in the second half of the 20th Century. Or is it just nostalgia? Are we better or worse off now? When were your halcyon days? Not necessarily army related (even if my halcyon days were the Golden Age of the RAC, the 1970)s.
 
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I love dialects and accents. Mines a weird mix of woollyback, Lancashire and Cheshire put in a blender with some Devonian thrown in for extra hilarity. With extra sarcastic bastard added.
 
We are better off, of course. There is much to be done. Without this descending into a politics thread, I think generally there was more state support, local support, and people weren’t so judgemental years ago. We all knew someone who had nowt, and yeah, they would be teased at school but nothing merciless like today.
Accents? Still there. I grew up in Staffordshire and if you include the broader county before the West Midlands was formed, there is a huge range between Dudley and Stoke, Stafford and Tamworth. The accents change every few hundred yards in the Black Country, but linguists believe the English spoken in Lower Gornal is about as close the language Shakespeare spoke than any other.
It would be boring if we were all the same, eh?
 
I love dialects and accents. Mines a weird mix of woollyback, Lancashire and Cheshire put in a blender with some Devonian thrown in for extra hilarity. With extra sarcastic bastard added.

Up here in the black country, my east end london twang caused a few heads to turn when we moved up in 1988, now not so much. The black country dialect and accents are wondrous to behold, words and phrases that have not changed in 400 years, the deeper you go into the BC, the more it changes, and in Gornal, its almost impossible to understand, and I love it, and having worked all over the BC every day was a revelation, in cradley heath, in an old antiquated metal bashing shop, mostly staffed by women Up here called "Wench's" as soon as I open me Norf an Sarf, they were on me, telling me what to see, where to go, and what to eat, I didn't have the heart to tell them I now live just a few miles away, they were so proud of their history and area.

The dialect and accents of middle England change every 5 miles or so, as this part of the UK, is like london was in medieval days, a collection of Villages. Up here it, to some extent still is. each small area defined by its boundary's has its own peculiar atmosphere, trades and family run workshops, its own independent styles accents, and all come under the financial control of either Sandwell Dudley or Wolverhampton, but all retain their own unique independence. Unlike london which has morphed from a collection of small villages, into a humongous conglomerate melting pot of sounds and voices. If you want to hear the authentic language dialects, and accents, of merrie England, which has not changed for 4 century's head into the Black country.
 
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Yorkshire Dales accents (hundreds). Railways with character. An ancient shepherdess living on a hillside without electricity and getting water from the stream or in winter, down to the reservoir and chipping off the ice. Working until the work was done, however long (I didn't say it was all good, but she was generally happy).

Sounds like Hannah Hauxwell Alien.
 
Middle England’s where it’s at. It used to be said that the people of Lower Gornal could not understand the folk from Upper Gornal, some two miles away. (The newsreader Sue Lawley is from one of them, I forget which).
Maybe an exaggeration: family of mine brought up in Willenhall would always say that they could not understand folks from Tipton. Or Wolverhampton at a push.
 

Truxx

LE
I caught the back end of something on the radio earlier that suggested that even now, dialect and accent are discernibly different every 25 miles.

In my own neck of the woods (Westmorland) the dialect (and words) of my youth have been largely replaced by a more generic, lazy "northern" buzz.

But apart from that little has changed
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Yorkshire Dales accents (hundreds). Railways with character. An ancient shepherdess living on a hillside without electricity and getting water from the stream or in winter, down to the reservoir and chipping off the ice. Working until the work was done, however long (I didn't say it was all good, but she was generally happy).

Sounds like Hannah Hauxwell Alien.
Exactly her. They said she sold up and moved into a nearby village. Might have been 2001 (she'd become a pensioner in the 1988 programme that revisited 15 years after the first documentary). They showed film of a tractor pulling the removals lorry through the snow. Apparently died early
Last year.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
I caught the back end of something on the radio earlier that suggested that even now, dialect and accent are discernibly different every 25 miles.

In my own neck of the woods (Westmorland) the dialect (and words) of my youth have been largely replaced by a more generic, lazy "northern" buzz.

But apart from that little has changed
I've told before how my mum flew in a Lancastrian to Bogatá in 1947 to join me dad who'd taken a mining management job in the Segovia goldfield. She was met off the plane by a company rep who'd largely only spoken Spanish for years.

He opened his mouth to greet her. Puzzled look. "Is there a problem, Mrs Alien?"

"Your accent. I'm trying to decide whether it's Jarrow or Hebburn"

"I was born in Jarrow and lived there until I was ten, then moved to Hebburn."

 
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Truxx

LE
After 34 years following the flag I returned to the next valley from the village where I was raised. It was pandemonium, removals men, boxes, the builders (it was an old farmhouse needing much tlc) and so on.

There was a knock at the door.

I opened it and a little old lady was standing on the doorstep.

'Hello" she said, smiling warmly.

"Hello" I responded.

"How are you?" She went on.

" really well thank you" slight pause, then "How are you?"

" I am very well thank you" she said.


Long pause.

"You don't remember me?" She said.

" I am really sorry, but no" I offered.

"Well I am Daisy your dinner lady from school and I really wanted to come and welcome you back"

I left Ravenstonedale Primary School in 1968.........
 
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I joined up mid sixties and went to an all arms training camp
The regional accents were very strong and we genuinely had difficulty communicating.
Imagine a highlander a valley boy and a yorkshire lad who sounded as if he were reading the bible. It was all thee thine thou.
I wouldn't swop those days in Britain for these days in our now mongrel country.
 
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Funnily enough the germans are to thank for preserving English dialects. They let a professor interview and make recordings of captured troops during the first world war.

Fascinating doc below, although the idea of a bsl interpreter conveying regional variation is quite amusing.

 
Funnily enough the germans are to thank for preserving English dialects. They let a professor interview and make recordings of captured troops during the first world war.

Fascinating doc below, although the idea of a bsl interpreter conveying regional variation is quite amusing.

:thumright: Good post. Have a like and an informative.
 
Yorkshire Dales accents (hundreds). Railways with character. An ancient shepherdess living on a hillside without electricity and getting water from the stream or in winter, down to the reservoir and chipping off the ice. Working until the work was done, however long (I didn't say it was all good, but she was generally happy).

Sounds like Hannah Hauxwell Alien.

Her life story was published many years go, ( 1973) and she became quite famous, she was interviewed on TV many times and was invited to talk in the states.
 
Funnily enough the germans are to thank for preserving English dialects. They let a professor interview and make recordings of captured troops during the first world war.

Fascinating doc below, although the idea of a bsl interpreter conveying regional variation is quite amusing.

Good clip but the tinkly romantic piano shit and wibbling over the voices and accents is bloody annoying. These narrators need to rein in their egos and STFU.
 
My father now 92, spoke of his childhood in the 20's in the heart of the east end, graces alley, just off cable street, Stepney, family groups that fanned out in and around the side streets, alleys and cobbled courts as the children grew up, married and moved only yards from their parents home. Such were the communities of that part of london, a microcosm of london. every family knew every other family, and the local accent and phrases and dialect stayed in the few hundred yards of its origins, the "Village" elders. He once told me that his father, my grandfather, who was the son of one of the minor suspects of Jack the ripper(Never proven) could tell not only what part of london a person originated by his speech, but what street, such was the diversity of speech in those days. WW2 finished it all, the Luftwaffe decimated the docks and streets of east london, and the surviving population had to move to outlying areas, and the new towns, Harlow, Basildon, Crawley, and Hampstead garden suburb, thus diluting the century's old local dialects and accents.

I visited the area several years ago, the old speech I heard and understood in my childhood 60+ years ago has all but disappeared, there are hardly any old east enders left, certainly none of my fathers era. They have been supplanted by new incomers from foriegn lands, much the same as my ancestors back in the late 19th century, and before them the French Huguenots.

The east end of london, the bit that starts at gardeners corner, and runs through Aldgate, white chapel, mile end bow and out to Stratford, has now morphed from an industrious working class area, into a buzzing hipster media arty dominated high end pricey cess pit of totally un-affordable mega priced housing and cost of living, totally out of the price range of the sons and daughters of the original occupants, and so we all moved out, spreading the myths and legends, speech, dialect, and mind-sets of our forefathers to all 4 corners of Albion. It started with Hitler, accelerated by the yuppies, and finished with the hipsters.
 
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Bollox

War Hero
My aunt lives in NW London close to Wembley, in her street accents change from house to house.
Old London, New London, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, South African, West African, Austrailian, Southern Indian, Polish, Latvian, Estonian etc.
I must admit if I take the dog for a walk on the field behind the houses at Sunday lunchtime the cooking smells have me drooling like a rabies victim.
 

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